Thursday, 11 October 2007

LAST NIGHT ON EARTH Fails to Deliver Zombie Vs. Shark Action


Sadly, Jason Hill/Flying Frog's LAST NIGHT ON EARTH completely fails to bring us anything nearly as badass and amazing as this scene from Lucio Fulci's ZOMBI 2...instead, there's plenty of rural hick versus zombie action, which I think is boring. Give me the urban apocalypse of DAWN OF THE DEAD over the farmhouse follies of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Anyway, it's a pretty darn good game and probably the best zombie game out there regardless of the fact that it isn't as different from ZOMBIES!!! as internet opinion seems to suggest it is. In fact, if you took ZOMBIES!!! and added scenarios, character abilities, and tweaked the combat system you'd have the same game but with someone controlling the zombies. You still wander around and search buildings for cards and roll a bunch of dice. BUT IT COMES WITH A CD!

I guess that's why it's "cool" to like LNoE but not ZOMBIES!!!...I give a good review and think overall it's going to be the next BETRAYAL- an easy to play, but not that mechanically great, horror-themed game that will have a lot of crossover appeal.

Speaking of zombies...just watched 28 WEEKS LATER. It's fucking great. Top shelf all the way and better than DAYS.

BTW, it's my birthday and none of you bastards got me all those SUPREMACY expansions I wanted...make up for it by going on to Gameshark now.

44 comments:

BDKWombat said...

I heard the expansion (due out in early 2008) will have some underwater boards included, though they are struggling on whether sharks should roll 4d6 or 6d6...

Seriously, though, I have been waiting for a good zombie game for a long time. I own (and hate) Zombies - a snoozefest if ever I saw one (and how can it be? - I'm shootin' zombies fa chrissake!). Somehow LNoE (which looked like the same game as Zombies when I first saw it @ GC, much to my disappointment) crosses a line for me and becomes the zombie game I was looking for. The combat system isn't THAT much different than Zombies, but enough that it adds some excitement to the game. I like the scenarios (escape in the truck is my favorite so far) - they add a level of 'strategy' that takes the game up a notch. The components are higher quality. The cards affect the game in more interesting ways (This Could Be Our Last Night on Earth, anyone?). At every turn, LNoE outdoes Zombies for me.

And just wait til those hammerhead tokens arrive in the Endless Hunger expansion... :)

simon said...

Consider the mail I sent you (F:AT) as your birthday card.

neonpeon said...

Player-controlled zombies = bleh.

Michael Barnes said...

That's actually a good point...the last several games we've played, the zombies have been MUCH smarter than they ought to be...zombies shouldn't be flanking and making other strategic moves like that. The game tries to even that out a little, forcing the zombie player to move to a space containing a character if they can.

BTW- if you're playing the "Defend the Manor" scenario, you HAVE to take advantage of that rule in order to win against the zombie player.

Is anybody else but me tired of the old chainsaw/shotgun versus zombies routine?

Dave Lartigue said...

Yeah, I played it not long ago and wasn't sure what, if anything, made it any better than Zombies!!! (other than the restricted length.) Zombies as a genre doesn't do much for me, so I didn't expect to have a screaming orgasm, but I did think that something more interesting should have been happening.

Michael Barnes said...

I think that part of the problem seems to be that Mr. Hill and co. intentionally set out to right the "wrongs" of ZOMBIES!!! rather than come up with something unique. So a lot of the acclaim is largely founded in the fact that it's a 45-70 minute game more than anything else.

I have a rulebook from an unpublished prototype a correspondence over in Belgium sent me..._it_, my friends, is the ultimate zombie game. I haven't even played the damn thing but I'd feel confident in telling you that it's what _real_ zombie fans want out of a zombie game. Think something like a mix of DESCENT and SQUAD LEADER with maximum zombie mayhem. I've said too much.

Tom Hazlett (Southernman) said...

Just a slight (temporary) derailment ..... someone is moving towards cult status across the way - who

mtlawson said...

Yeah, but isn't she busy working on that next great FFG game?

BTW, Michael, happy birthday. Go have some Anchor Steam with your gaming tonight.

--Mike L.

ubarose said...

Happy Birthday Michael.

Despite your lukewarm review, I still want Last Night on Earth. A little Zombie adventure that can be squeezed into the after dinner - before bed time slot sounds good to me.

notbillysparkles said...

BAH! what the fuck does Barnes know anyway?

Urban Apocalypse my arse-- Jenny fucking up zombies in the cornfield with a pitchfork is the very quintessence of lowbrow divertissement.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I can't default Jason Hill for making a game that is highly accessible considering that this is his first foray into the gaming arena. It's good way of creating buzz which can then be directly transferred into further expansion sales, and seeing as how everyone is good and used to the core rule set by then they can take more risks rules/complexity wise.

I'll admit that the game does seem come up a bit short somehow, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that it won't require an investment of Battlelorian proportions to "get there."

Yeah... I wasn't too keen on the CD myself, but his sister made it and she seemed nice so I won't rag on it. Oddly enough I really liked the art and I think that it trumps a lot of the stuff I've seen graphics wise in a while.

Happy Birthday!!! Them old bones starting to stiffen up on you yet?

MikeZ said...

I wonder if it can do "Zombie Lake"....

Bateman said...

28 weeks was cool at the beginning, but when the survivors came out of the poison gas alive because they have covered their mouths with their hands...that really killed the movie for me. Even the helicopter chopping couldn't change this.

Day of the Dead is one of the best.
Beside Redneck Zombies of course!

Anonymous said...

That zombie vs. shark scene is sooooooo cool.

Michael Barnes said...

mikez- ZOMBIE LAKE??? Maybe they can do a little SHOCK WAVES while they're at it too! Wow, I'm very impressed...hats off to you for F:AT's first Jean Rollin reference...

Uba- Lukewarm? Nah...I like the game! I am pretty sick of it by now, I think we've played every scenario four times at this point.

Notbillysparkles- I'm with you, it's great that Jason made a game that's completely accessible and so well recieved his first time out- it's a huge success and that's something you don't often see in this hobby. I _knew_ that CD was a wife/girlfriend/sister situation...

"Lowbrow divertissment"...isn't that like "jumbo shrimp"?

Bateman- there were some odd implausibilities here and there but somehow I didn't really care. The helicopter thing, while awesome, was strangely cartoony for a film that succeeds largely on its gritty, visceral realism. I figured that the gas was diluted enough by the time it got into the car that the shirts would handle the rest. I do think the first hour of the movie is almost completely untouchable though and almost as good as DAWN OF THE DEAD. The second half does get a little wobbly. Something I really like about the movie is how it contrasts a large scale, civilization level apocalypse with very intimate, personal one. DAY OF THE DEAD- very underrated...probably one of the most nihilistic movies I've ever seen, the complete failure of human society and human nature together at last- like peanut butter and chocolate.

Shellhead said...

I agree that Dawn of the Dead (the original, of course) is an awesome though underrated movie.

As kids, my best friend and I used to fantasize that civilization would somehow collapse (nuclear war was our best bet) and the two of us would move into a shopping mall. We could eat food from the food court, read all the science-fiction books in the bookstores, jump on the beds in the furniture store and listen to all the music in record stores.

Dawn of the Dead took my childhood fantasy and dropped it on its head, twice. First, there was the nightmarish challenge of clearing the mall of the zombies. Then the heroes got to live my dream at the mall. And then those damn bikers had to show up and ruin everything. It was great!

Stephen King did some great commentary on a variety of horror books and movies in his non-fiction Danse Macabre. He commented that Dawn of the Dead wasn't a big hit in the US, but was huge in West Germany. King said it was because the Germans could strongly relate to the idea of building up an efficient and functional society and then freak out when it gets torn down by crude, chaotic barbarians.

By contrast, King said The Exorcist made a huge impact in the US, where uptight middle class types could easily feel the horror of a (hippie) child suddenly alienated from them and spouting grotesque insults.

But times have changed. It seems like the popularity of zombies has been ascendant in recent years. What does that say about us as a culture? Dawn of the Dead suggests that zombies are the ultimate degeneration of the mindless consumers that you can see crowding American shopping malls on a daily basis.

Michael Barnes said...

Who's underrating DAWN, Shell? It's pretty much universally beloved at this point...which is kind of weird, because when I was growing up it didn't have the clout it has now. I think it's actually one of the best films ever made and it's the only horror film I can think of that really has an "epic" scope. There's a really interesting line in it between the absurdity of the situation and a real, honest seriousness about it.

DAY OF THE DEAD...now that's different...I think a lot of people don't get it and a lot of the criticism about it comes more from it not being DAWN than for what it actually is. It's barely about zombies at all...it's about desperate people in an impossible situation and how they treat each other. It doesn't help that the characters all selfish, stupid, fascistic, hopeless, or faithless. It's also about the collapse of society on a very microcosmic scale, taking place in this underground bunker somewhere in Florida. I hated it when I saw it back in the mid '80s, like a lot of people did, but revisiting it now I find that it's actually almost as good as DAWN but in a different way.

Since Mike Z. brought up Jean Rollin...anybody see LE RAISINS D'MORT? It's a French zombie picture where the Zombie Causative Agent is bad wine. They spray the grape crop with an experimental pesticide that turns this village into zombies. It's mostly crap, but it's not without merit.

neonpeon said...

You know, I hated Day at first, too. Mainly I thought the protagonist and her heavy-accented friends were lame, the Bub thing was silly, and there wasn't much action. After another viewing I appreciated the point of the movie more, and man what a climax.

There's a remake coming out soon.

Believe it or not, I know some people who find the Dawn remake to be vastly superior to Dawn '78... '78 has "bad, dated effects" and such. Now I know not to take their movie opinions seriously. :P

Michael Barnes said...

The new DAWN wasn't bad. It had some good points to it and some decent scenes, but the main problem is that it wasn't even really a DAWN remake. If it had just been another zombie movie set in a mall and they didn't bother to connect to a vastly superior film then it would have probably been better overall. It just doesn't have the heart and soul that DAWN has, let alone the gritty, 1970s tone. It's very glossy and Hollywood. Too slick and "hip".

The ONLY time in my life I've ever been star-struck was when I met George Romero...I was completely flabbergasted.

notbillysparkles said...

Barnes: how the hell can you not like peanut butter and chocolate???

BLASPHEMY!!!

I suppose the next thing you're gonna tell me is that you don't like the idea of fried pickles or cool-aid pickles.

Your culinary taste are somewhat wanting buddy.

Michael Barnes said...

What are you talking about? I reference peanut butter & chocolate as a _good_ thing! Anybody who doesn't like peanut butter and chocolate is suspect and should be immediately executed, no questions asked.

God, kool aid pickles...one of the upcoming GOOD EATS my wife worked on is going to have something about 'em. Yuck.

neonpeon said...

Ha, I met Romero too, after a screening of The Crazies (which they're also remaking without George's involvement, yet they're putting his name under "executive producer"). He was really cool. He overheard me say to the salespeople/organizers at the table next to him that I couldn't afford autographs at the time - I was out of work and there was no mention of charging for autographs anywhere until they announced it over the PA as fans waited in line. I just couldn't justify the expense. When I moved up to George, he said, "Hmmm, well what you got? Maybe we could smuggle somethin' for ya." So when nobody was looking he quickly signed my Dawn Ultimate Edition, which I proudly display on the living room bookshelf. :)

notbillysparkles said...

Dude, I fucking LOVE good eats! That show rocks! I totally dig when Alton Brown gets into his molecular gastronomy schtick about the stuff I love cook and eat!

Hell, I'm looking forward to that episode... I have this thing with pickles.

MMmmmmmmmm... kooool-aiiiid piickles *DROOL*

Michael Barnes said...

Ha, it all ties together here...if you see the GOOD EATS popcorn episode, you'll see Alton in a movie theater (which is the Plaza on Ponce, ATL folks). He walks by a DAWN OF THE DEAD poster, but instead of the zombie head it has a giant, bloody kernel of popcorn. My wife did that poster. We got Romero to sign it for the studio when we met him.

Frank Branham said...

It also totally fails to have underwater fights between zombies and a mostly nude French women's volleyball team. (The only redeeming feature of the otherwise awful Zombie Lake.)

Clearly, the game is lacking.

Michael Barnes said...

Well, they're only nude in the "continental" version...the international one had the ladies fully clothed.

You know, you'd think an idea like "nazi zombies" couldn't possibly go wrong...

Mr Skeletor said...

Hmmm, looks like I may need to post a counter review for LNOE.

I have never seen the original Dawn, I loved the remake however. Day of the Dead was fucking awful, some of the shittiest acting I have ever seen.

ubarose said...

Since we have so many Zombie movie experts here, does this ring a bell?

A TV and a zombie bride with a chainsaw in the woods.

Every so often, when we are watching a boring movie, my sweetie leans over and whispers in my ear, "What this movie needs is a zombie bride with a chainsaw." But neither of us can remember in what movie we saw her.

Andy said...

Evil Dead II? She's not a bride but a girlfriend, but she is in the woods and does have a chainsaw at some point.

Frank Branham said...

What the...

A couple of weeks back, someone asked me about a movie that was set in Mexico (maybe) that featured a guy who married a zombie / vampirey thing who weilded a chainsaw.

Apparently the girl was turned into the thing halfway through, but the wedding was still on....

Mayhap is this the same movie?

neonpeon said...

I've heard of a movie called "Zombie Honeymoon" - that could be it.

Michael Barnes said...

Uba- I'm stumped.

Mr. Skeletor- Apparently you haven't seen ZOMBIE LAKE...you'd appreciate the thespianism on display in DAY a lot more. The acting is definitely crap, regardless of how much I like the film as a whole. That "whirlybird" guy in particular.

adrianbolt said...

My comments on LNOE:-

http://boardgamegeek.com/viewcollection.php3?username=Adrian+Bolt&rated=1&startletter=L

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1748772

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